A Common-Sense Approach to Torture

President Obama again displayed in his speech today on national security that he is an exceptionally gifted and thoughtful politician who cares about the rule of law.  Indeed, there is much to admire in his remarks today.  So I can’t help wondering why he is being so obtuse about investigating torture. 

He says he wants to establish legal mechanisms for dealing with terrorists that will be useful for his successors.  “We can leave behind a legacy that outlasts my Administration, and that endures for the next President and the President after that. . .”, the President said.  Sadly, though, this vision of his legacy apparently does not include concrete measures to ensure that torture will never be carried out again by any of his successors, merely the hope that they will follow his example.  That is where his refusal to carry out his legal obligation to investigate torture leaves us — merely hoping his successors will be wise.

The President continues to characterize those who press for an investigation as vengeful zealots uninterested in constructive problem-solving:  “Already, we have seen how that kind of effort only leads those in Washington to different sides laying blame, and can distract us from focusing our time, our effort and our politics on the challenges of the future.”  The truth is, however, that many in the human rights movement who are calling for an investigation have worked most of their lives for justice and accountability for human rights crimes in country after country — Chile, Argentina, Guatemala, Rwanda, Bosnia, Cambodia, and so many others.  These are people whose purpose is the opposite of ”finger-pointing” for petty partisan aims.

In any event, it is not up to President Obama to decide all by himself how to prevent future abuses in combatting terrorism.  We — the public, Congress, and officials in the executive branch — all share in the responsibility for this “mess”, as the President labelled it.  We must seek solutions together, and an independent, impartial, nonpartisan commission of inquiry is the logical instrument through which we can begin to make this happen.

The weakness of the President’s argument against an investigation is made all the more stark by its contrast with the cogency of his arguments against torture and for closing Guantanamo.  Moreover, his speech today marked yet another flip-flop in the reasons for his opposition.  Just a month ago, he expressed his preference that, if there was going to be an investigation, it be conducted by an independent panel, outside the normal Congressional hearing process.  He said that he worried about hearings becoming too partisan.  Today, however, Mr. Obama said that he was opposed to an independent commission because he believes “our existing democratic institutions are strong enough to deliver accountability.  The Congress can review abuses of our values, and there are ongoing inquiries by the Congress into matters like enhanced interrogation techniques. . .”

Well, which is it?  Is the President now saying that balkanized investigations by Congressional committees controlled by Democrats are actually preferable to a truly independent investigation by experts who have no political agenda?  I don’t see the logic in this view.  The President prides himself on applying rational, common-sense approaches to problem solving.  But rationality and common sense are lacking in his stubborn opposition to an impartial investigation.  We need to figure out how to ensure future presidents won’t yield to the same cowardly impulses that defined the Bush administration’s resort to torture.  Only a thorough, impartial probe of how it happened can lead to effective remedies for the future.

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72 thoughts on “A Common-Sense Approach to Torture

  1. Watching President Obama and Dick Cheney today was like watching a first grader (Obama) and the Professor give speeches on the same subject. I LOVE Dick Cheney he exposed Obama for the underclassman he is. The politics of fear? I think being trapped on a suicidal plane on your way to death, instead of San Francisco and sitting at your desk on the 90th floor of the World Trade Center and seeing a 747 jumbo jet heading right at you, are REAL (and unfortunately) TRUE moments of FEAR, THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED TO THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE on 9/11!! You can not pick and choose what realities of atrocities you choose to acknowledge and then dismiss the effects and consequences and REALITIES of the atrocities of 9/11. I could never expect people with your world view to understand, your mental and emotional capacity and limited ability to only assign blame to your political opponents make you very narrow in your compassion for ALL human beings and the harsh realities of dealing with the true existence of Evil.

  2. Go easy on Obama. Even if his legilature passed laws to prevent torture by future genertion, the likes of Cheny would find ways to circumvent themk.

  3. To Joann Gandino-
    Your reply did not in any way respond to Gay Gardiner's comments. lllogical ad hominem emotion is not a substitute for thought. Learn some sophistication instead of randomly attacking people who show far more thoughtfulness than you is reflected by your comments.

  4. I'm more frightened of JoAnn Gandino than I am of terrorists. (And I'm actually from New York and lost friends in the World Trade.) Bin Laden may be able to kill me, but JoAnn and people like her and Cheney are destroying this country.

    And unlike Howard L. McFAnn, there's no way I'd go easy on Obama–everyone's got to follow the law, no exceptions. Otherwise, what's the point and what's worth fighting for?

  5. "…existing democratic institutions are strong enough to deliver accountability. The Congress can review abuses of our values, and there are ongoing inquiries by the Congress into matters like enhanced interrogation techniques. The Department of Justice and our courts can work through and punish any violations of our laws."

    Is it possible that the Senate Armed Services Committee's Inquiry into the Treatment of Detainees and the on-going Senate Intelligence Committee's Investigation into the CIA's detention and interrogation programs will produce enough evidence for the Department of Justice to move forward with criminal investigations against those who ordered and/or sanctioned "harsh interrogations"?

  6. The most disturbing part of Obama's speech was the proposition that the Unites States legalize preventive detention for "… people who've received extensive explosives training at al Qaeda training camps, or commanded Taliban troops in battle, or expressed their allegiance to Osama bin Laden, or otherwise made it clear that they want to kill Americans." If laws are passed that allow indefinate detention without trial for what people know and think and feel and not for actual crimes, the United States will be abandoning, once and for all, the US Constitution, myriad federal and international laws, covenents and treaties, and freedom will be a quaint idea.

  7. Was in a discussion with about 10 other highly educated people on the issue of torture. The question was asked: if it was known with high probability that in a group of ten people only one knew information about an impending terrorist act, would it be acceptable to torture all 10 people, because you don't know who that person is. I was surprised to hear 80% of this discussion group say for purposes of protection, it us ok to torture 9 innocent people to get that one person. It's patriotic to be willing to submit yourself to torture to serve your country. The discussion then got extended to killing innocent people to insure that you kill those that are dangerous and the response was sort of the same, that it's ok to kill innocent people if it will save many more.

    It bothered me that a majority of people felt this way. If they represent mainstream America, then maybe I am the crazy one? The reality may be that each if us is presumed guilty and a threat to national security unless we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that we're innocent.

  8. Watching President Obama and Dick Cheney today was like watching a first grader (Obama) and the Professor give speeches on the same subject. I LOVE Dick Cheney he exposed Obama for the underclassman he is. The politics of fear? I think being trapped on a suicidal plane on your way to death, instead of San Francisco and sitting at your desk on the 90th floor of the World Trade Center and seeing a 747 jumbo jet heading right at you, are REAL (and unfortunately) TRUE moments of FEAR, THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED TO THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE on 9/11!! You can not pick and choose what realities of atrocities you choose to acknowledge and then dismiss the effects and consequences and REALITIES of the atrocities of 9/11. I could never expect people with your world view to understand, your mental and emotional capacity and limited ability to only assign blame to your political opponents make you very narrow in your compassion for ALL human beings and the harsh realities of dealing with the true existence of Evil.

  9. Go easy on Obama. Even if his legilature passed laws to prevent torture by future genertion, the likes of Cheny would find ways to circumvent themk.

  10. To Joann Gandino-
    Your reply did not in any way respond to Gay Gardiner’s comments. lllogical ad hominem emotion is not a substitute for thought. Learn some sophistication instead of randomly attacking people who show far more thoughtfulness than you is reflected by your comments.

  11. I’m more frightened of JoAnn Gandino than I am of terrorists. (And I’m actually from New York and lost friends in the World Trade.) Bin Laden may be able to kill me, but JoAnn and people like her and Cheney are destroying this country.

    And unlike Howard L. McFAnn, there’s no way I’d go easy on Obama–everyone’s got to follow the law, no exceptions. Otherwise, what’s the point and what’s worth fighting for?

  12. “…existing democratic institutions are strong enough to deliver accountability. The Congress can review abuses of our values, and there are ongoing inquiries by the Congress into matters like enhanced interrogation techniques. The Department of Justice and our courts can work through and punish any violations of our laws.”

    Is it possible that the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Inquiry into the Treatment of Detainees and the on-going Senate Intelligence Committee’s Investigation into the CIA’s detention and interrogation programs will produce enough evidence for the Department of Justice to move forward with criminal investigations against those who ordered and/or sanctioned “harsh interrogations”?

  13. The most disturbing part of Obama’s speech was the proposition that the Unites States legalize preventive detention for “… people who’ve received extensive explosives training at al Qaeda training camps, or commanded Taliban troops in battle, or expressed their allegiance to Osama bin Laden, or otherwise made it clear that they want to kill Americans.” If laws are passed that allow indefinate detention without trial for what people know and think and feel and not for actual crimes, the United States will be abandoning, once and for all, the US Constitution, myriad federal and international laws, covenents and treaties, and freedom will be a quaint idea.

  14. Was in a discussion with about 10 other highly educated people on the issue of torture. The question was asked: if it was known with high probability that in a group of ten people only one knew information about an impending terrorist act, would it be acceptable to torture all 10 people, because you don’t know who that person is. I was surprised to hear 80% of this discussion group say for purposes of protection, it us ok to torture 9 innocent people to get that one person. It’s patriotic to be willing to submit yourself to torture to serve your country. The discussion then got extended to killing innocent people to insure that you kill those that are dangerous and the response was sort of the same, that it’s ok to kill innocent people if it will save many more.

    It bothered me that a majority of people felt this way. If they represent mainstream America, then maybe I am the crazy one? The reality may be that each if us is presumed guilty and a threat to national security unless we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that we’re innocent.

  15. You're not crazy, Wilson, you are compassionate. Substitute "your own children" for the faceless and abstract people who are to be tortured and killed to possibly save others, and see what they say then.

    For many Americans, maybe the majority of them, preserving life and safeguarding physical safety has trumped the preservation of ideals and safeguarding particular values. I thought it telling that Obama said "…my single most important responsibility as President is to keep the American people safe." I think his single most important responsibility as President is to uphold the oath he took, "…to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution as Commander-in-Chief…". He spends quite a bit of time talking about the ideals and values inherent in the Constitution and how these are ultimately practical in providing us with true security, but I don't think he really believes in what he's saying.

  16. Obtuse? Our president is growing up and learning to govern – for the first time in his career.

    It's easy to opine when you've never been responsible for anything and your only concern is getting elected. Or when you're too junior to get invited to any real security briefings anyway. But ignorance didn't stop him from vowing to close Guantanamo (not gonna happen), call waterboarding torture (oops, stopped doing that didn't he?) stop wiretaps (flip flop), stop military tribunals (flip-a-roo), release photos of interrigations (flipity flip flip), or call what happened to Armenia genocide (flipzilla.)

    Looks like once in the White House they handed Obama the folder that shows just how dangerous the world really is. No wonder that he has elected to continue just about every security activity that kept us safe. Stay tuned, just wait until he figures out he can't talk the Iranians out of building the bomb and make those misguided Wahabbis love us.
    .

  17. You’re not crazy, Wilson, you are compassionate. Substitute “your own children” for the faceless and abstract people who are to be tortured and killed to possibly save others, and see what they say then.

    For many Americans, maybe the majority of them, preserving life and safeguarding physical safety has trumped the preservation of ideals and safeguarding particular values. I thought it telling that Obama said “…my single most important responsibility as President is to keep the American people safe.” I think his single most important responsibility as President is to uphold the oath he took, “…to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution as Commander-in-Chief…”. He spends quite a bit of time talking about the ideals and values inherent in the Constitution and how these are ultimately practical in providing us with true security, but I don’t think he really believes in what he’s saying.

  18. Obtuse? Our president is growing up and learning to govern – for the first time in his career.

    It’s easy to opine when you’ve never been responsible for anything and your only concern is getting elected. Or when you’re too junior to get invited to any real security briefings anyway. But ignorance didn’t stop him from vowing to close Guantanamo (not gonna happen), call waterboarding torture (oops, stopped doing that didn’t he?) stop wiretaps (flip flop), stop military tribunals (flip-a-roo), release photos of interrigations (flipity flip flip), or call what happened to Armenia genocide (flipzilla.)

    Looks like once in the White House they handed Obama the folder that shows just how dangerous the world really is. No wonder that he has elected to continue just about every security activity that kept us safe. Stay tuned, just wait until he figures out he can’t talk the Iranians out of building the bomb and make those misguided Wahabbis love us.
    .

  19. I don't think that President Obama's values or vows have changed. The real surprise comes when you begin to realize that your closest cabinet members are not really on the same page as you are and do not really have the ability to "see" what you see. It will take a minute for him to rearrange these people and create a strong allegiance to his efforts. We will then see the wisdom and foresight that this president holds. His reasoning and methods are unprecedented and many have difficulty trusting the new. We, as a society, have continued to fall back into the tried and true to find the same old reality over and over again. It's time for the change. That means something different. Be patient. And open your mind.

  20. To Howard — I'm not thinking so much that new laws are needed, though some may be. Indeed, I agree with you that one thing we've learned from the last 8 years is that leaders who are determined to commit illegal acts will find a way to do so, no matter what the law says. I think we need to get the full truth out in the open and also examine whether specific individuals should be held criminally liable for their actions. Torture is a serious crime under our laws, and we need to hold perpetrators of crime accountable so that our laws are not further undermined by failure to enforce them and so that future officials can be deterred from committing similar crimes by seeing that there are real consequences for law-breaking. That is the only effective way I see to prevent President Obama's successors from resorting to torture.

    I share Mary Ellen's deep concern about the President's proposal for preventive detention. I'm eager to see the details of what he has in mind, but it is hard to imagine how this could be reconciled with our Constitution and our treaty obligations, not to mention our values as the President described them.

    Wilson's fascinating comment just makes me immensely sad.

    Finally, if I undertand Judith's comment correctly, it illustrates something that concerns me about some of the President's most ardent supporters — i.e., a sort of transcendent faith in the correctness of all of his decisions and actions because he is such a remarkably intelligent and wise leader. I would simply ask that we judge him by what he does, not by what he says.

  21. I don’t think that President Obama’s values or vows have changed. The real surprise comes when you begin to realize that your closest cabinet members are not really on the same page as you are and do not really have the ability to “see” what you see. It will take a minute for him to rearrange these people and create a strong allegiance to his efforts. We will then see the wisdom and foresight that this president holds. His reasoning and methods are unprecedented and many have difficulty trusting the new. We, as a society, have continued to fall back into the tried and true to find the same old reality over and over again. It’s time for the change. That means something different. Be patient. And open your mind.

  22. To Howard — I’m not thinking so much that new laws are needed, though some may be. Indeed, I agree with you that one thing we’ve learned from the last 8 years is that leaders who are determined to commit illegal acts will find a way to do so, no matter what the law says. I think we need to get the full truth out in the open and also examine whether specific individuals should be held criminally liable for their actions. Torture is a serious crime under our laws, and we need to hold perpetrators of crime accountable so that our laws are not further undermined by failure to enforce them and so that future officials can be deterred from committing similar crimes by seeing that there are real consequences for law-breaking. That is the only effective way I see to prevent President Obama’s successors from resorting to torture.

    I share Mary Ellen’s deep concern about the President’s proposal for preventive detention. I’m eager to see the details of what he has in mind, but it is hard to imagine how this could be reconciled with our Constitution and our treaty obligations, not to mention our values as the President described them.

    Wilson’s fascinating comment just makes me immensely sad.

    Finally, if I undertand Judith’s comment correctly, it illustrates something that concerns me about some of the President’s most ardent supporters — i.e., a sort of transcendent faith in the correctness of all of his decisions and actions because he is such a remarkably intelligent and wise leader. I would simply ask that we judge him by what he does, not by what he says.

  23. Gay Gardner's good on every single point . The best being, the torturers need to be tried by law to STOP WHAT'S STILL GOING ON in Guantanamo, Bagram, etc. The whole system was rotten from Day 1of its founding, & i don't mean just the "war on terror" here. Law's supposed to be the corrective &, while i know america won't ever stop doing what she does while she is america — as Michael Herr says, this machine knows how to do everything but stop — i support the good – minded people's movement towards justice, not for correcting that doomed machine but for the sake of the process toward the people's own growth & healing .

  24. Gay Gardner’s good on every single point . The best being, the torturers need to be tried by law to STOP WHAT’S STILL GOING ON in Guantanamo, Bagram, etc. The whole system was rotten from Day 1of its founding, & i don’t mean just the “war on terror” here. Law’s supposed to be the corrective &, while i know america won’t ever stop doing what she does while she is america — as Michael Herr says, this machine knows how to do everything but stop — i support the good – minded people’s movement towards justice, not for correcting that doomed machine but for the sake of the process toward the people’s own growth & healing .

  25. Distortion and Mischaracterization from many of you bloggers.

    Mary Ellen –

    The President isn't "introducing" new laws that allow the Unites States to legalize preventive detention. During Armed Conflict the U.S. has always had the legal authority to detain enemy combatants that pose a threat and during continued armed conflict. He is merely recognizing something the Bush Administration always knew. On the job training is paying off. U.S. Citizens are not about to be rounded up and thrown in jail because the Gov't thinks they may start robbing banks. HOWEVER, just as enemies captured during WWI; WWII; Korea; Vietnam; Desert Shield/Storm….enemies captured during the war on terrorism CAN be detained legally as long as they pose a threat and during continued armed conflict. I'm glad the Commander-In-Chief gets it.

    Wilson-

    You also are either contributing to the mischaracterization/exaggeration OR you have been fooled. Regardless of how 10 educated people answered your hypothetical question…the facts remain this:

    A total of THREE very high al-qaeda members with loads of information were waterboarded to extract that information. Your question (in which 8 out of 10 highly educated people said it was ok to "torture" 10 individuals because 1 knew things) doesn't even come close to applying to this situation.

    There was no doubt Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was a high value detainee and knew a lot of information. That information likely led to the capture of other terrorists, prevented future terrorist attacks and likely saved lives. We won't know because the details surrounding the enhanced interrogations were released by this President, but NOT the information it revealed.

    Stop blurring the line between un-sanctioned things like Abu-Ghraib (in which Soldiers were courts-martialed) and stop leading John Q. Public into believing 10 people may have been waterboarded because it was likely 1 knew something.

    John-

    What is it you are alledging is going on at GITMO and Bagram?

    Move along to Darfur, or juvenile death penalties in Iran, or some real worthy cause. The law and sensibility are not on your side with this continued bashing of U.S. War on Terror Policies.

    Hope you all enjoyed your Memorial Day Weekend.

    Enjoy your terror-free Nation.

    U.S.A. Terror-Free Since 9-11-2001

  26. Dear MSG,

    What Obama is proposing is radically different than what is addressed in the Geneva Conventions and United State federal laws. It will allow the government to detain anyone they think may be a threat, including Americans, i.e., "potential Timothy McVeighs".

    The difference between the detention of "enemy combatants" in prior wars and the detention of "enemy combatants" in this "war on terror" are the differences between how "war","enemy combatant" and "battlefield" were defined then and how they are defined now. Because terrorists have no allegience to any particular country, this war is not one between nations; it is between nations and individuals or non-state groups. In this "war on terror", the whole world is a battlefield, everyone in it is a potential enemy combatant and the war is eternal. It is very similar to our "war on drugs" which has amounted to more violence, more imprisonments and more drug use. I imagine the "war on terror" will produce more terror, more imprisonments and probably more drug use, too!

    I don't think waging war is the solution for the problem of drugs or terrorism. I don't think criminalizing knowledge, thoughts and feelings or giving governments the power to indefinately detain people who haven't committed a crime will make us any safer. And when I say "us", I don't just mean Americans; I mean all human beings.

  27. Distortion and Mischaracterization from many of you bloggers.

    Mary Ellen -

    The President isn’t “introducing” new laws that allow the Unites States to legalize preventive detention. During Armed Conflict the U.S. has always had the legal authority to detain enemy combatants that pose a threat and during continued armed conflict. He is merely recognizing something the Bush Administration always knew. On the job training is paying off. U.S. Citizens are not about to be rounded up and thrown in jail because the Gov’t thinks they may start robbing banks. HOWEVER, just as enemies captured during WWI; WWII; Korea; Vietnam; Desert Shield/Storm….enemies captured during the war on terrorism CAN be detained legally as long as they pose a threat and during continued armed conflict. I’m glad the Commander-In-Chief gets it.

    Wilson-

    You also are either contributing to the mischaracterization/exaggeration OR you have been fooled. Regardless of how 10 educated people answered your hypothetical question…the facts remain this:

    A total of THREE very high al-qaeda members with loads of information were waterboarded to extract that information. Your question (in which 8 out of 10 highly educated people said it was ok to “torture” 10 individuals because 1 knew things) doesn’t even come close to applying to this situation.

    There was no doubt Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was a high value detainee and knew a lot of information. That information likely led to the capture of other terrorists, prevented future terrorist attacks and likely saved lives. We won’t know because the details surrounding the enhanced interrogations were released by this President, but NOT the information it revealed.

    Stop blurring the line between un-sanctioned things like Abu-Ghraib (in which Soldiers were courts-martialed) and stop leading John Q. Public into believing 10 people may have been waterboarded because it was likely 1 knew something.

    John-

    What is it you are alledging is going on at GITMO and Bagram?

    Move along to Darfur, or juvenile death penalties in Iran, or some real worthy cause. The law and sensibility are not on your side with this continued bashing of U.S. War on Terror Policies.

    Hope you all enjoyed your Memorial Day Weekend.

    Enjoy your terror-free Nation.

    U.S.A. Terror-Free Since 9-11-2001

  28. Dear MSG,

    What Obama is proposing is radically different than what is addressed in the Geneva Conventions and United State federal laws. It will allow the government to detain anyone they think may be a threat, including Americans, i.e., “potential Timothy McVeighs”.

    The difference between the detention of “enemy combatants” in prior wars and the detention of “enemy combatants” in this “war on terror” are the differences between how “war”,”enemy combatant” and “battlefield” were defined then and how they are defined now. Because terrorists have no allegience to any particular country, this war is not one between nations; it is between nations and individuals or non-state groups. In this “war on terror”, the whole world is a battlefield, everyone in it is a potential enemy combatant and the war is eternal. It is very similar to our “war on drugs” which has amounted to more violence, more imprisonments and more drug use. I imagine the “war on terror” will produce more terror, more imprisonments and probably more drug use, too!

    I don’t think waging war is the solution for the problem of drugs or terrorism. I don’t think criminalizing knowledge, thoughts and feelings or giving governments the power to indefinately detain people who haven’t committed a crime will make us any safer. And when I say “us”, I don’t just mean Americans; I mean all human beings.

  29. Mary Ellen-

    Let me know when the U.S. captures a U.S. Citizen in the U.S. and throws them in jail indefinetly without a federal trial because they "think" they might be the next Timothy McVeigh. I'll join in one of your little rally's, march, write letters or what have you.

    As far as foreign national terrorists/enemy combatants captured in Afghanistan during continued Armed Conflict and subsequently detained by the Department of Defense…I'm not with you on that…Neither is the Constitution of the United States or the Geneva Conventions (one must be a signatory member to the Geneva Conventions).

    Being a rogue group of radical jihadist terrorists and as you pointed out ("terrorists have no allegience to any particular country, this war is not one between nations; it is between nations and individuals or non-state groups") they are therefore not protected under the Geneva Conventions.

    ALL that said, the protections and rights given under previous CSRTs and ARBs go above and beyond what was afforded POWs under the Geneva Conventions.

    President Obama is wising up.

    U.S.A. Terror-Free Since 9-11-2001

  30. Dear MSG,

    The United States has already captured a U.S. Citizen in the U.S., labeled him an "illegal enemy combatant", threw him into a military prison and claimed he was not entitled to trial in a United States civilian court on the suspicion that he was planning a "dirty bomb" attack. His name is Jose Padilla. Read about him here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos%C3%A9_Padilla_(a

    In June of 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions applies to all military detainees. That article states that everyone taken captive during a war, regardless of their classification (such as "prisoner of war", "enemy combatant", "civilian" or "radical jihadist terrorist"), "shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, including prohibition of outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment." It also states that any sentence that might be passed on a detainee must be, "pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples."

    The CSRT and ARB were a joke. The case of the 22 Uighurs highlights this dramatically. The so called "evidence" against them was that they were staying in a camp for ex-pat Uighurs located in the Tora Bora region in Afghanistan when the United States started bombing. They fled to save their lives and eventually ended up in Pakistan where they were turned over to the ISI for a reported bounty of $5000 per person. The ISI delivered them to US forces; they were interrogated. It was determined that they weren't Al Qaeda, Taliban or any kind of combatant. They were told they would be released, but something different happened; they were shackled, hooded and put on a plane to Guantanamo.
    After their CSRT, six were labeled "no longer enemy combatants" (NEC) and 16 were labeled "enemy combatants" (EC). Matthew Waxman, then the Assistant Secretary Deputy for Detainee Affairs, decided that the six NEC needed to have a second CSRT and, this time, as he wrote in an email to the chair of CSRT 32 who was chairing the second CSRT for the Uighur Ali, " "Inconsistencies will not cast a favorable light on the CSRT process or the work done by OARDEC … By properly classifying them as EC, then there is an opportunity to (1) further exploit them here in GTMO and (2) when they are transferred to a third country, it will be controlled transfer in status."
    Add that to the testimony given by Lt. Col. Stephen Abraham who served with OARDEC, who said about the evidence presented, "What were purported to be specific statements of fact lacked even the most fundamental earmarks of objectively credible evidence." He also said that after the board he sat on decided that there was not enough evidence to conclude that a prisoner was an enemy fighter, they were ordered to hold an expanded hearing to reconsider their conclusion. Other people involved with the process have also come forward with similar claims, one of them having sat on 49 tribunals.

    Are you ready to help me write some letters to at least get the Uighurs out of Guantanamo?

  31. Dear MSG,

    The United States has already captured a U.S. Citizen in the U.S., labeled him an "illegal enemy combatant", threw him into a military prison and claimed he was not entitled to trial in a United States civilian court on the suspicion that he was planning a "dirty bomb" attack. His name is Jose Padilla. Read about him here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos%C3%A9_Padilla_(a

    In June of 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions applies to all military detainees. That article states that everyone taken captive during a war, regardless of their classification (such as "prisoner of war", "enemy combatant", "civilian" or "radical jihadist terrorist"), "shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, including prohibition of outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment." It also states that any sentence that might be passed on a detainee must be, "pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples."

    The CSRT and ARB were a joke. The case of the 22 Uighurs highlights this dramatically. The so called "evidence" against them was that they were staying in a camp for ex-pat Uighurs located in the Tora Bora region in Afghanistan when the United States started bombing. They fled to save their lives and eventually ended up in Pakistan where they were turned over to the ISI for a reported bounty of $5000 per person. The ISI delivered them to US forces; they were interrogated. It was determined that they weren't Al Qaeda, Taliban or any kind of combatant. They were told they would be released, but something different happened; they were shackled, hooded and put on a plane to Guantanamo.
    After their CSRT, six were labeled "no longer enemy combatants" (NEC) and 16 were labeled "enemy combatants" (EC). Matthew Waxman, then the Assistant Secretary Deputy for Detainee Affairs, decided that the six NEC needed to have a second CSRT and, this time, as he wrote in an email to the chair of CSRT 32 who was chairing the second CSRT for the Uighur Ali, " "Inconsistencies will not cast a favorable light on the CSRT process or the work done by OARDEC … By properly classifying them as EC, then there is an opportunity to (1) further exploit them here in GTMO and (2) when they are transferred to a third country, it will be controlled transfer in status."
    Add that to the testimony given by Lt. Col. Stephen Abraham who served with OARDEC, who said about the evidence presented, "What were purported to be specific statements of fact lacked even the most fundamental earmarks of objectively credible evidence." He also said that after the board he sat on decided that there was not enough evidence to conclude that a prisoner was an enemy fighter, they were ordered to hold an expanded hearing to reconsider their conclusion. Other people involved with the process have also come forward with similar claims, one of them having sat on 49 tribunals.

    Are you ready to help me write some letters to at least get the Uighurs out of Guantanamo?

  32. Dear MSG,

    The United States has already captured a U.S. Citizen in the U.S., labeled him an "illegal enemy combatant", threw him into a military prison and claimed he was not entitled to trial in a United States civilian court on the suspicion that he was planning a "dirty bomb" attack. His name is Jose Padilla. Read about him here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos%C3%A9_Padilla_(a

    In June of 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions applies to all military detainees. That article states that everyone taken captive during a war, regardless of their classification (such as "prisoner of war", "enemy combatant", "civilian" or "radical jihadist terrorist"), "shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, including prohibition of outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment." It also states that any sentence that might be passed on a detainee must be, "pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples."

    The CSRT and ARB were a joke. The case of the 22 Uighurs highlights this dramatically. The so called "evidence" against them was that they were staying in a camp for ex-pat Uighurs located in the Tora Bora region in Afghanistan when the United States started bombing. They fled to save their lives and eventually ended up in Pakistan where they were turned over to the ISI for a reported bounty of $5000 per person. The ISI delivered them to US forces; they were interrogated. It was determined that they weren't Al Qaeda, Taliban or any kind of combatant. They were told they would be released, but something different happened; they were shackled, hooded and put on a plane to Guantanamo.
    After their CSRT, six were labeled "no longer enemy combatants" (NEC) and 16 were labeled "enemy combatants" (EC). Matthew Waxman, then the Assistant Secretary Deputy for Detainee Affairs, decided that the six NEC needed to have a second CSRT and, this time, as he wrote in an email to the chair of CSRT 32 who was chairing the second CSRT for the Uighur Ali, " "Inconsistencies will not cast a favorable light on the CSRT process or the work done by OARDEC … By properly classifying them as EC, then there is an opportunity to (1) further exploit them here in GTMO and (2) when they are transferred to a third country, it will be controlled transfer in status."
    Add that to the testimony given by Lt. Col. Stephen Abraham who served with OARDEC, who said about the evidence presented, "What were purported to be specific statements of fact lacked even the most fundamental earmarks of objectively credible evidence." He also said that after the board he sat on decided that there was not enough evidence to conclude that a prisoner was an enemy fighter, they were ordered to hold an expanded hearing to reconsider their conclusion. Other people involved with the process have also come forward with similar claims, one of them having sat on 49 tribunals.

    Are you ready to help me write some letters to at least get the Uighurs out of Guantanamo?

  33. Mary Ellen-

    Let me know when the U.S. captures a U.S. Citizen in the U.S. and throws them in jail indefinetly without a federal trial because they “think” they might be the next Timothy McVeigh. I’ll join in one of your little rally’s, march, write letters or what have you.

    As far as foreign national terrorists/enemy combatants captured in Afghanistan during continued Armed Conflict and subsequently detained by the Department of Defense…I’m not with you on that…Neither is the Constitution of the United States or the Geneva Conventions (one must be a signatory member to the Geneva Conventions).

    Being a rogue group of radical jihadist terrorists and as you pointed out (“terrorists have no allegience to any particular country, this war is not one between nations; it is between nations and individuals or non-state groups”) they are therefore not protected under the Geneva Conventions.

    ALL that said, the protections and rights given under previous CSRTs and ARBs go above and beyond what was afforded POWs under the Geneva Conventions.

    President Obama is wising up.

    U.S.A. Terror-Free Since 9-11-2001

  34. Dear MSG,

    The United States has already captured a U.S. Citizen in the U.S., labeled him an “illegal enemy combatant”, threw him into a military prison and claimed he was not entitled to trial in a United States civilian court on the suspicion that he was planning a “dirty bomb” attack. His name is Jose Padilla. Read about him here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos%C3%A9_Padilla_(alleged_terrorist)

    In June of 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions applies to all military detainees. That article states that everyone taken captive during a war, regardless of their classification (such as “prisoner of war”, “enemy combatant”, “civilian” or “radical jihadist terrorist”), “shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, including prohibition of outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.” It also states that any sentence that might be passed on a detainee must be, “pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.”

    The CSRT and ARB were a joke. The case of the 22 Uighurs highlights this dramatically. The so called “evidence” against them was that they were staying in a camp for ex-pat Uighurs located in the Tora Bora region in Afghanistan when the United States started bombing. They fled to save their lives and eventually ended up in Pakistan where they were turned over to the ISI for a reported bounty of $5000 per person. The ISI delivered them to US forces; they were interrogated. It was determined that they weren’t Al Qaeda, Taliban or any kind of combatant. They were told they would be released, but something different happened; they were shackled, hooded and put on a plane to Guantanamo.
    After their CSRT, six were labeled “no longer enemy combatants” (NEC) and 16 were labeled “enemy combatants” (EC). Matthew Waxman, then the Assistant Secretary Deputy for Detainee Affairs, decided that the six NEC needed to have a second CSRT and, this time, as he wrote in an email to the chair of CSRT 32 who was chairing the second CSRT for the Uighur Ali, ” “Inconsistencies will not cast a favorable light on the CSRT process or the work done by OARDEC … By properly classifying them as EC, then there is an opportunity to (1) further exploit them here in GTMO and (2) when they are transferred to a third country, it will be controlled transfer in status.”
    Add that to the testimony given by Lt. Col. Stephen Abraham who served with OARDEC, who said about the evidence presented, “What were purported to be specific statements of fact lacked even the most fundamental earmarks of objectively credible evidence.” He also said that after the board he sat on decided that there was not enough evidence to conclude that a prisoner was an enemy fighter, they were ordered to hold an expanded hearing to reconsider their conclusion. Other people involved with the process have also come forward with similar claims, one of them having sat on 49 tribunals.

    Are you ready to help me write some letters to at least get the Uighurs out of Guantanamo?

  35. José Padilla is the poster child for your argument? Really? He is a U.S. Citizen, Was captured in the U.S. at an airport when he flew in from Pakistan, BUT he is not being held indefinetly without trial. He was charged and convicted and currently serving a 17 1/2 year sentence! José Padilla was found guilty by a FEDERAL jury. Sorry he wasn't free to follow through on his dirty bomb plot.

    Nothing that has occurred at GITMO or been done by OARDEC since June of '06 violates the supreme court ruling in Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld.

    Once again you attempt to blur the line. Yes the court ruled "that any SENTENCE that might be passed on a detainee must be, “pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.”" BUT, the CSRTs and ARBs are administrative and DO NOT "sentence". They simply determine whether a detainee is an enemy combatant, the threat level, and whether the detainee remains a threat and recommends whether to continue to detain, transfer or release the detainee. THEY ARE NOT NOR EVER SHOULD BE criminal / adversarial proceedings.

    Say what you and other critics will of the CSRTs and ARBs, but they are above and beyond anything ever afforded POWs and anything afforded by the Geneva Conventions in the past. Never in the history of U.S. Armed Conflict have the captured enemy had so many rights. The CSRTs and ARBs have also evolved and improved over the years AND detainees still have habeas because of the 5-4 supreme court ruling. SO… even IF the CSRTs and ARBs comeback and FAIL the detainees STILL have habeas.

    The U.S. Govt/State Department is already trying to move the Uighurs. The problem is no country wants them (hmm… I wonder why? Could it be the training they received while hanging out at training camps in Tora Bora?). China would take them, but being a member of A.I. I'm certain you wouldn't approve.

    In the meantime they are being very well taken care of.

    Later Mary Ellen, thanks for the conversation.

    U.S.A. Terror Free Since 9-11-2001

  36. Dear MSG,

    The point I was trying to make about Jose Padilla is that U.S. citizens may very well be subjected to any laws passed regarding preventive detention. I honestly can't imagine why they wouldn't be. The law already allows preventive detention for U.S. citizens deemed to be mentally ill and sexual offenders, why not possible terrorists like Jose Padilla? He really is the poster child for being detained, tried and convicted for what amount to thought crimes.

    My comment about the Geneva Conventions was in response to your claim that "a rogue group of radical jihadist terrorists…are therefore not protected under the Geneva Conventions.", not about how they have been treated since the U.S. Supreme Court decision that disproves your claim.

    I never said the CSRT and ARB were courts as referred to in the Geneva Conventions. I was simply pointing out that they were political in nature and did not function as they were supposed to, as you well describe. What you fail to acknowledge is that they were created as a substitute for habeas corpus, but failed miserably as proved by the recent decisions of federal judges who have heard a handful of the habeas cases. Thank goodness for the wisdom of the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court!

    Regarding the Uighurs, as far as I know there was one rifle at the camp they were staying at in Afghanistan. Not much of a training camp. They have been deemed to be of no threat to the United States or our allies. There are a few reasons why countries won't accept them, the primary one being, "Why should we take them if the United States won't?". The secondary one is the pressure China is putting on countries not to accept them. And you are right, I would not approve of them being sent back to China. It would be grossly unfair, not to mention illegal, to do so.

    The Uighurs may be well taken care of, but they are not free as they should be. There are communities in the Washington D.C. area and in Tallahassee, Florida that are prepared to welcome the Uighurs and provide them with material, emotional and spiritual support. MSG, would you consider writing a letter to your Senators asking them to support the decision of Judge Urbina and do what they can to urge the administration to comply with his order that the Uighurs be brought to his courtroom? Once they are freed into the United States, it will help other countries take the other 40 or so people that have been and still are illegally detained at Guantanamo.

  37. "tried and convicted for what amounts to thought crimes"

    Conspiracy to commit murder, funding and supporting terrorism are not thought crimes. Geez…even when convicted by a federal trial, with a federal judge, jury, prosecuting attorney and defense attorney AND all the appellate review entitlements you are still not happy Jose Padilla isn't a detained and not free walking radical jihadist terrorist.

    As far as the Uighurs…Yes "as far as you know". If the leftist website or newsanchor tells you they were all at a training camp with 1 AK-47 and you choose to believe that so be it.

    Besides what you know and don't know…consider this: Women living in Tallahassee and Washington DC better cover up. While held at GITMO, the Uighurs were allowed to watch television. While watching a televised soccer game, during which footage showed females with exposed arms, the Uighurs flipped out and got violent, picking up the TV and smashing it. Hmmm…living among us and our women who dare where shorts and bare arms…maybe not such a good idea.

    I wouldn't support the Uighurs being free to roam communities in the U.S. So I'm sorry, but I won't be able to write any letters to U.S. Senators as you request. I may write letters supporting the Gov't Appeal of Judge Urbina's unwise ruling.

    Continued peace and blessings to you,

    U.S.A. Terror-Free Since 9-11-2001

  38. José Padilla is the poster child for your argument? Really? He is a U.S. Citizen, Was captured in the U.S. at an airport when he flew in from Pakistan, BUT he is not being held indefinetly without trial. He was charged and convicted and currently serving a 17 1/2 year sentence! José Padilla was found guilty by a FEDERAL jury. Sorry he wasn’t free to follow through on his dirty bomb plot.

    Nothing that has occurred at GITMO or been done by OARDEC since June of ’06 violates the supreme court ruling in Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld.

    Once again you attempt to blur the line. Yes the court ruled “that any SENTENCE that might be passed on a detainee must be, “pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.”” BUT, the CSRTs and ARBs are administrative and DO NOT “sentence”. They simply determine whether a detainee is an enemy combatant, the threat level, and whether the detainee remains a threat and recommends whether to continue to detain, transfer or release the detainee. THEY ARE NOT NOR EVER SHOULD BE criminal / adversarial proceedings.

    Say what you and other critics will of the CSRTs and ARBs, but they are above and beyond anything ever afforded POWs and anything afforded by the Geneva Conventions in the past. Never in the history of U.S. Armed Conflict have the captured enemy had so many rights. The CSRTs and ARBs have also evolved and improved over the years AND detainees still have habeas because of the 5-4 supreme court ruling. SO… even IF the CSRTs and ARBs comeback and FAIL the detainees STILL have habeas.

    The U.S. Govt/State Department is already trying to move the Uighurs. The problem is no country wants them (hmm… I wonder why? Could it be the training they received while hanging out at training camps in Tora Bora?). China would take them, but being a member of A.I. I’m certain you wouldn’t approve.

    In the meantime they are being very well taken care of.

    Later Mary Ellen, thanks for the conversation.

    U.S.A. Terror Free Since 9-11-2001

  39. Dear MSG,

    The point I was trying to make about Jose Padilla is that U.S. citizens may very well be subjected to any laws passed regarding preventive detention. I honestly can’t imagine why they wouldn’t be. The law already allows preventive detention for U.S. citizens deemed to be mentally ill and sexual offenders, why not possible terrorists like Jose Padilla? He really is the poster child for being detained, tried and convicted for what amount to thought crimes.

    My comment about the Geneva Conventions was in response to your claim that “a rogue group of radical jihadist terrorists…are therefore not protected under the Geneva Conventions.”, not about how they have been treated since the U.S. Supreme Court decision that disproves your claim.

    I never said the CSRT and ARB were courts as referred to in the Geneva Conventions. I was simply pointing out that they were political in nature and did not function as they were supposed to, as you well describe. What you fail to acknowledge is that they were created as a substitute for habeas corpus, but failed miserably as proved by the recent decisions of federal judges who have heard a handful of the habeas cases. Thank goodness for the wisdom of the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court!

    Regarding the Uighurs, as far as I know there was one rifle at the camp they were staying at in Afghanistan. Not much of a training camp. They have been deemed to be of no threat to the United States or our allies. There are a few reasons why countries won’t accept them, the primary one being, “Why should we take them if the United States won’t?”. The secondary one is the pressure China is putting on countries not to accept them. And you are right, I would not approve of them being sent back to China. It would be grossly unfair, not to mention illegal, to do so.

    The Uighurs may be well taken care of, but they are not free as they should be. There are communities in the Washington D.C. area and in Tallahassee, Florida that are prepared to welcome the Uighurs and provide them with material, emotional and spiritual support. MSG, would you consider writing a letter to your Senators asking them to support the decision of Judge Urbina and do what they can to urge the administration to comply with his order that the Uighurs be brought to his courtroom? Once they are freed into the United States, it will help other countries take the other 40 or so people that have been and still are illegally detained at Guantanamo.

  40. “tried and convicted for what amounts to thought crimes”

    Conspiracy to commit murder, funding and supporting terrorism are not thought crimes. Geez…even when convicted by a federal trial, with a federal judge, jury, prosecuting attorney and defense attorney AND all the appellate review entitlements you are still not happy Jose Padilla isn’t a detained and not free walking radical jihadist terrorist.

    As far as the Uighurs…Yes “as far as you know”. If the leftist website or newsanchor tells you they were all at a training camp with 1 AK-47 and you choose to believe that so be it.

    Besides what you know and don’t know…consider this: Women living in Tallahassee and Washington DC better cover up. While held at GITMO, the Uighurs were allowed to watch television. While watching a televised soccer game, during which footage showed females with exposed arms, the Uighurs flipped out and got violent, picking up the TV and smashing it. Hmmm…living among us and our women who dare where shorts and bare arms…maybe not such a good idea.

    I wouldn’t support the Uighurs being free to roam communities in the U.S. So I’m sorry, but I won’t be able to write any letters to U.S. Senators as you request. I may write letters supporting the Gov’t Appeal of Judge Urbina’s unwise ruling.

    Continued peace and blessings to you,

    U.S.A. Terror-Free Since 9-11-2001

  41. Zeke, thanks for this very interesting article from Malcolm Nance. As he points out so eloquently, we are not doing our military personnel any favors by burying our heads in the sand about torture. This country is strong enough to face up to our past wrongdoing. We owe it to the soldiers who are willing to put their lives on the line to protect us to reclaim the moral high ground and prove the terrorists are wrong about us. We need to take a deep and honest look at our own unlawful practices and spell out for the world how we are going to turn the page — not by saying we don't have time to look at it, but by owning what we did and saying exactly how we plan to keep our government from ever turning back down this dark road again.

  42. Zeke, thanks for this very interesting article from Malcolm Nance. As he points out so eloquently, we are not doing our military personnel any favors by burying our heads in the sand about torture. This country is strong enough to face up to our past wrongdoing. We owe it to the soldiers who are willing to put their lives on the line to protect us to reclaim the moral high ground and prove the terrorists are wrong about us. We need to take a deep and honest look at our own unlawful practices and spell out for the world how we are going to turn the page — not by saying we don’t have time to look at it, but by owning what we did and saying exactly how we plan to keep our government from ever turning back down this dark road again.

  43. Malcolm Nance is entitled to his opine.

    If Mr. Nance is certain that waterboarding is torture, perhaps he should turn himself in and advocate his own prosecution. He admitted in the article to waterboarding hundreds of his own men and women in training.

    There are various arguments supporting or not supporting criminal investigations. Among the biggest crock is the last sentence in Mr. Nance's op-ed:

    "Either we investigate our past errors and clean up our ship or we "look forward" and give al-Qaeda a singular propaganda victory that will kill Americans for years to come."

    As if to suggest dragging the CIA and Bush Administration through a criminal investigation and potential trial and potential sentence is going to make al-Qaeda less dangerous. As if to suggest it will make our country stronger and more secure. Laughable. Even President Obama understands the likely consequences of going down this road. Do you not think this would be a moral victory al-Qaeda would rally around? Do you not think the country would become COMPLETELY polarized? Those responsible for preventing future attacks, obtaining information leading to the capture of other terrorists, those who practiced enhanced interrogation (legal or otherwise is another debate) being led off to jail for the world to see. Let the world know the enhanced interogation techniques used…let radical jihadist terrorists play the victim, let the public relations battle continue to frame U.S. War on Terror Policy in this twisted light.

    I don't know why several attempts to post this message failed, but here goes again.

    If you want an honest assessment of GITMO and another perspective read the attached link.
    http://yalelawjournal.org/2007/08/13/davis.html

  44. Malcolm Nance is entitled to his opine.

    If Mr. Nance is certain that waterboarding is torture, perhaps he should turn himself in and advocate his own prosecution. He admitted in the article to waterboarding hundreds of his own men and women in training.

    There are various arguments supporting or not supporting criminal investigations. Among the biggest crock is the last sentence in Mr. Nance's op-ed:

    "Either we investigate our past errors and clean up our ship or we "look forward" and give al-Qaeda a singular propaganda victory that will kill Americans for years to come."

    As if to suggest dragging the CIA and Bush Administration through a criminal investigation and potential trial and potential sentence is going to make al-Qaeda less dangerous. As if to suggest it will make our country stronger and more secure. Laughable. Even President Obama understands the likely consequences of going down this road. Do you not think this would be a moral victory al-Qaeda would rally around? Do you not think the country would become COMPLETELY polarized? Those responsible for preventing future attacks, obtaining information leading to the capture of other terrorists, those who practiced enhanced interrogation (legal or otherwise is another debate) being led off to jail for the world to see. Let the world know the enhanced interogation techniques used…let radical jihadist terrorists play the victim, let the public relations battle continue to frame U.S. War on Terror Policy in this twisted light.

    I don't know why several attempts to post this message failed, but here goes again.

    The page will not let me post the following link in the website field:

    If you want an honest assessment of GITMO and another perspective read the attached link. It is about 1 1/2 years old, but still rings true.
    http://yalelawjournal.org/2007/08/13/davis.html

  45. Dear MSG,

    The information I have on the Uighur camp in Afghanistan that the Uighurs in Guantanamo were staying at came from transcripts of CSRT published by the Department of Defense.

    Having some independent, unbiased knowledge of a subject is a good way of learning how to tell if a second hand source is telling the truth or telling a story. I know enough about Uighur society to be highly suspect of a tale about Uighurs smashing a TV because of seeing women with bare arms. If you don't know anything about a subject, investigating what you read or hear from second hand sources is essential if you want to base your opinions on fact and not bias.

    Amnesty International reports on human rights issues based on original sources such as the testimony of eye witnesses and government and NGO documents. I recommend you read their reports about Guantanamo and the detainees and then check out the sources they reference. What you read may challenge your world view, but that is always a good thing!

    This is it for me on the detention of suspected enemies of the United States. May you truly be free from terror. ~ Mary Ellen

  46. Malcolm Nance is certainly entitled to his opine. I side with most of the bloggers that posted responses to his dribble.

    The last sentence jumps out the most: "Either we investigate our past errors and clean up our ship or we "look forward" and give al-Qaeda a singular propaganda victory that will kill Americans for years to come."

    There are other arguments to be made, but this is among the most fundamentally different…as if al-Qaeda will be LESS a threat because we drag the CIA and Bush Administration Officials through criminal investigations. Let the world know the enhanced interrogation techniques used and parade these guys into court. al-Qaeda would be appreciative and take it easy on us. Yeah right. Watching those who prevented terrorists attacks (debating whether those actions were legal or not is another argument) will have the EXACT opposite effect. This would be a moral victory for al-Qaeda and you know it.

    Attached link is a bit dated (over 2 years old) but still rings true. You'all are welcome to read with an open mind…another perspective and sums up my experience and first hand knowledge of this ongoing public relations battle.

    U.S.A. Terror-Free Since 9-11-2001

  47. I'm an original source as I worked at GITMO for 1 year and deployed to Afghanistan for 1. But you don't want to hear the truth.

    Why did I have to change my Name and make up an e-mail address to post a message? Trying to silence your critics A.I.????

  48. Malcolm Nance is entitled to his opine.

    If Mr. Nance is certain that waterboarding is torture, perhaps he should turn himself in and advocate his own prosecution. He admitted in the article to waterboarding hundreds of his own men and women in training.

    There are various arguments supporting or not supporting criminal investigations. Among the biggest crock is the last sentence in Mr. Nance's op-ed:

    "Either we investigate our past errors and clean up our ship or we "look forward" and give al-Qaeda a singular propaganda victory that will kill Americans for years to come."

    As if to suggest dragging the CIA and Bush Administration through a criminal investigation and potential trial and potential sentence is going to make al-Qaeda less dangerous. As if to suggest it will make our country stronger and more secure. Laughable. Even President Obama understands the likely consequences of going down this road. Do you not think this would be a moral victory al-Qaeda would rally around? Do you not think the country would become COMPLETELY polarized? Those responsible for preventing future attacks, obtaining information leading to the capture of other terrorists, those who practiced enhanced interrogation (legal or otherwise is another debate) being led off to jail for the world to see. Let the world know the enhanced interogation techniques used…let radical jihadist terrorists play the victim, let the public relations battle continue to frame U.S. War on Terror Policy in this twisted light.

    I don't know why several attempts to post this message failed, but here goes again.

    If you want an honest assessment of GITMO and another perspective read the attached link.
    http://yalelawjournal.org/2007/08/13/davis.html

  49. Malcolm Nance is entitled to his opine.

    If Mr. Nance is certain that waterboarding is torture, perhaps he should turn himself in and advocate his own prosecution. He admitted in the article to waterboarding hundreds of his own men and women in training.

    There are various arguments supporting or not supporting criminal investigations. Among the biggest crock is the last sentence in Mr. Nance's op-ed:

    "Either we investigate our past errors and clean up our ship or we "look forward" and give al-Qaeda a singular propaganda victory that will kill Americans for years to come."

    As if to suggest dragging the CIA and Bush Administration through a criminal investigation and potential trial and potential sentence is going to make al-Qaeda less dangerous. As if to suggest it will make our country stronger and more secure. Laughable. Even President Obama understands the likely consequences of going down this road. Do you not think this would be a moral victory al-Qaeda would rally around? Do you not think the country would become COMPLETELY polarized? Those responsible for preventing future attacks, obtaining information leading to the capture of other terrorists, those who practiced enhanced interrogation (legal or otherwise is another debate) being led off to jail for the world to see. Let the world know the enhanced interogation techniques used…let radical jihadist terrorists play the victim, let the public relations battle continue to frame U.S. War on Terror Policy in this twisted light.

    I don't know why several attempts to post this message failed, but here goes again.

    If you want an honest assessment of GITMO and another perspective read the attached link.
    http://yalelawjournal.org/2007/08/13/davis.html

  50. Malcolm Nance is entitled to his opine.

    If Mr. Nance is certain that waterboarding is torture, perhaps he should turn himself in and advocate his own prosecution. He admitted in the article to waterboarding hundreds of his own men and women in training.

    There are various arguments supporting or not supporting criminal investigations. Among the biggest crock is the last sentence in Mr. Nance's op-ed:

    "Either we investigate our past errors and clean up our ship or we "look forward" and give al-Qaeda a singular propaganda victory that will kill Americans for years to come."

    As if to suggest dragging the CIA and Bush Administration through a criminal investigation and potential trial and potential sentence is going to make al-Qaeda less dangerous. As if to suggest it will make our country stronger and more secure. Laughable. Even President Obama understands the likely consequences of going down this road. Do you not think this would be a moral victory al-Qaeda would rally around? Do you not think the country would become COMPLETELY polarized? Those responsible for preventing future attacks, obtaining information leading to the capture of other terrorists, those who practiced enhanced interrogation (legal or otherwise is another debate) being led off to jail for the world to see. Let the world know the enhanced interogation techniques used…let radical jihadist terrorists play the victim, let the public relations battle continue to frame U.S. War on Terror Policy in this twisted light.

    I don't know why several attempts to post this message failed, but here goes again.

    The page will not let me post the following link in the website field:

    If you want an honest assessment of GITMO and another perspective read the attached link. It is about 1 1/2 years old, but still rings true.
    http://yalelawjournal.org/2007/08/13/davis.html

  51. Malcolm Nance is entitled to his opine.

    If Mr. Nance is certain that waterboarding is torture, perhaps he should turn himself in and advocate his own prosecution. He admitted in the article to waterboarding hundreds of his own men and women in training.

    There are various arguments supporting or not supporting criminal investigations. Among the biggest crock is the last sentence in Mr. Nance's op-ed:

    "Either we investigate our past errors and clean up our ship or we "look forward" and give al-Qaeda a singular propaganda victory that will kill Americans for years to come."

    As if to suggest dragging the CIA and Bush Administration through a criminal investigation and potential trial and potential sentence is going to make al-Qaeda less dangerous. As if to suggest it will make our country stronger and more secure. Laughable. Even President Obama understands the likely consequences of going down this road. Do you not think this would be a moral victory al-Qaeda would rally around? Do you not think the country would become COMPLETELY polarized? Those responsible for preventing future attacks, obtaining information leading to the capture of other terrorists, those who practiced enhanced interrogation (legal or otherwise is another debate) being led off to jail for the world to see. Let the world know the enhanced interogation techniques used…let radical jihadist terrorists play the victim, let the public relations battle continue to frame U.S. War on Terror Policy in this twisted light.

    I don't know why several attempts to post this message failed, but here goes again.

    The page will not let me post the following link in the website field:

    If you want an honest assessment of GITMO and another perspective read the attached link. It is about 1 1/2 years old, but still rings true.
    http://yalelawjournal.org/2007/08/13/davis.html

  52. Dear MSG,

    The information I have on the Uighur camp in Afghanistan that the Uighurs in Guantanamo were staying at came from transcripts of CSRT published by the Department of Defense.

    Having some independent, unbiased knowledge of a subject is a good way of learning how to tell if a second hand source is telling the truth or telling a story. I know enough about Uighur society to be highly suspect of a tale about Uighurs smashing a TV because of seeing women with bare arms. If you don’t know anything about a subject, investigating what you read or hear from second hand sources is essential if you want to base your opinions on fact and not bias.

    Amnesty International reports on human rights issues based on original sources such as the testimony of eye witnesses and government and NGO documents. I recommend you read their reports about Guantanamo and the detainees and then check out the sources they reference. What you read may challenge your world view, but that is always a good thing!

    This is it for me on the detention of suspected enemies of the United States. May you truly be free from terror. ~ Mary Ellen

  53. Malcolm Nance is certainly entitled to his opine. I side with most of the bloggers that posted responses to his dribble.

    The last sentence jumps out the most: “Either we investigate our past errors and clean up our ship or we “look forward” and give al-Qaeda a singular propaganda victory that will kill Americans for years to come.”

    There are other arguments to be made, but this is among the most fundamentally different…as if al-Qaeda will be LESS a threat because we drag the CIA and Bush Administration Officials through criminal investigations. Let the world know the enhanced interrogation techniques used and parade these guys into court. al-Qaeda would be appreciative and take it easy on us. Yeah right. Watching those who prevented terrorists attacks (debating whether those actions were legal or not is another argument) will have the EXACT opposite effect. This would be a moral victory for al-Qaeda and you know it.

    Attached link is a bit dated (over 2 years old) but still rings true. You’all are welcome to read with an open mind…another perspective and sums up my experience and first hand knowledge of this ongoing public relations battle.

    U.S.A. Terror-Free Since 9-11-2001

  54. I’m an original source as I worked at GITMO for 1 year and deployed to Afghanistan for 1. But you don’t want to hear the truth.

    Why did I have to change my Name and make up an e-mail address to post a message? Trying to silence your critics A.I.????

  55. Malcolm Nance is entitled to his opine.

    If Mr. Nance is certain that waterboarding is torture, perhaps he should turn himself in and advocate his own prosecution. He admitted in the article to waterboarding hundreds of his own men and women in training.

    There are various arguments supporting or not supporting criminal investigations. Among the biggest crock is the last sentence in Mr. Nance’s op-ed:

    “Either we investigate our past errors and clean up our ship or we “look forward” and give al-Qaeda a singular propaganda victory that will kill Americans for years to come.”

    As if to suggest dragging the CIA and Bush Administration through a criminal investigation and potential trial and potential sentence is going to make al-Qaeda less dangerous. As if to suggest it will make our country stronger and more secure. Laughable. Even President Obama understands the likely consequences of going down this road. Do you not think this would be a moral victory al-Qaeda would rally around? Do you not think the country would become COMPLETELY polarized? Those responsible for preventing future attacks, obtaining information leading to the capture of other terrorists, those who practiced enhanced interrogation (legal or otherwise is another debate) being led off to jail for the world to see. Let the world know the enhanced interogation techniques used…let radical jihadist terrorists play the victim, let the public relations battle continue to frame U.S. War on Terror Policy in this twisted light.

    I don’t know why several attempts to post this message failed, but here goes again.

    If you want an honest assessment of GITMO and another perspective read the attached link.

    http://yalelawjournal.org/2007/08/13/davis.html

  56. Malcolm Nance is entitled to his opine.

    If Mr. Nance is certain that waterboarding is torture, perhaps he should turn himself in and advocate his own prosecution. He admitted in the article to waterboarding hundreds of his own men and women in training.

    There are various arguments supporting or not supporting criminal investigations. Among the biggest crock is the last sentence in Mr. Nance’s op-ed:

    “Either we investigate our past errors and clean up our ship or we “look forward” and give al-Qaeda a singular propaganda victory that will kill Americans for years to come.”

    As if to suggest dragging the CIA and Bush Administration through a criminal investigation and potential trial and potential sentence is going to make al-Qaeda less dangerous. As if to suggest it will make our country stronger and more secure. Laughable. Even President Obama understands the likely consequences of going down this road. Do you not think this would be a moral victory al-Qaeda would rally around? Do you not think the country would become COMPLETELY polarized? Those responsible for preventing future attacks, obtaining information leading to the capture of other terrorists, those who practiced enhanced interrogation (legal or otherwise is another debate) being led off to jail for the world to see. Let the world know the enhanced interogation techniques used…let radical jihadist terrorists play the victim, let the public relations battle continue to frame U.S. War on Terror Policy in this twisted light.

    I don’t know why several attempts to post this message failed, but here goes again.

    The page will not let me post the following link in the website field:

    If you want an honest assessment of GITMO and another perspective read the attached link. It is about 1 1/2 years old, but still rings true.

    http://yalelawjournal.org/2007/08/13/davis.html